*The First Clinical Medicine College of Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China - **The Second Hospital of Gansu Province, Lanzhou, China 


Background: Fatigue, which is one of the most common symptoms of cancer, can seriously affect the quality of life and subse- quent treatment of patients with cancer. After reviewing the existing literature systematically, we discussed the association between inflammatory cytokine polymorphisms and cancer-related fatigue (CRF).

Methods: We conducted a search on the association of inflammatory cytokine polymorphisms and cancer-related fatigue in PubMed, ISI Web of Science, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Embase, the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (CBM), the Chinese Journal Full-text Database (CJFD) and the Wanfang Database. Studies were selected using specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. We finished the manuscript followed the checklist of PRISMA statement.

Results: We identified 15 studies in the published literature that specifically assessed the association between fatigue and inflammatory cytokine polymorphisms in cancer patients. There were 13 studies exploring positive associations between inflammatory cytokine polymorphisms and CRF. Because of the heterogeneity of these studies in terms of cancer type, cancer-related fatigue measu- res, diagnosis of CRF, and selection of controls, it was difficult to merge correlation estimates between inflammatory cytokine poly- morphisms and cancer-related fatigue for a quantitative review and clear results. Nevertheless, the present review evaluated the gaps of knowledge in this topic to advance CRF research.

Conclusion: Future efforts should define CRF and select appropriate questionnaires for CRF measures and controls. Publications in this field have focused on single race (e.g. the white) and a few cancer type(e.g. breast and lung cancer). Therefore, additional studies should be performed in other races and cancer types to obtain more convincing evidence. Meanwhile, the develop- ment of clear definition and unified questionnaires of CRF is an important avenue for future research. 


cancer-related fatigue, inflammatory cytokines, polymorphisms.